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> Gwenn Ha Du, The Beton Flag
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 28-Sep-2004, 09:43 AM
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Here is some info I found at several different sites concerning the Gwenn Ha Du, the Breton flag. I have listed with each piece the address for its site of origin.

http://www.brittany-bretagne.com/pg/gwenn.htm
The Breton Flag

Nine stripes, alternatively black and white alongside a scattering of ermines - nine regions, nine dioceses, this is what the Gwenn ha Du, the Breton flag is made up of. The black is for the Gallo region : Rennes, Nantes, Dol, Saint-Malo, Penthièvre. The white is for the Breton-speaking regions : Léon, Trégor, Cornouaille, Vannes. It is a flag synonomous with diversity and unity.

It, is however, a recent symbol. It was created in 1925 by the pen of Morvan Marchal. It is greatly inspired by the coat of arms of the town of Rennes which is comprised of white and black vertical stripes alongside a scattering of ermines. The ermine is, what's more, a heraldic motif which one finds on the flag of the Duchy of Brittany from 1318. Based on this, Morvan Marchal pictured a modern emblem for Brittany.
This great step brought about a number of reactions. The Gwenn ha Du was contested as soon as it appeared even among the defenders of the Breton identity.
It took nearly 50 years for the flag to become finally estabIished and for it to get rid of all political and separitist connotations. From then on, the Gwenn ha Du is displayed as the uncontested symbol of the region of Brittany.
It flys in front of companies, on military marches, during important cultural and popular events and it brings to mind our attachment to Brittany everywhere it's seen.

http://www.brittany-guide.com/welcome.html?menu.htm&0
The Breton Flag
A relatively recent design by Morvan Marchall in 1926. Its Breton name is Gwenn (white) ha du(black). The 5 black stripes representing areas of east or upper Brittany and the 4 white stripes representing areas of the west or lower Brittany

http://wf4.search.com/click?wf,brittany+fr...bzeur.html,,aol
A Gwenn-ha-Du with black replaced by yellow and white replaced by blue was spotted in Rennes, and reported in Ar Banniel [arb], #6 (Summer 1998), p. 20.


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Slàn agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tìr mo chridhe. 'S i Gàidhlig cànan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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celtica 
Posted: 28-Sep-2004, 01:57 PM
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Hi Wizard, maybe I can add my two pences wink.gif

The Gwen ha du, the actual breton flag is quite recent, but the first breton flag was one of the older in the world. It's name was kroaz-du (black cross) and it was given to the breton nation with the benediction of the pope during the third crusade in 1188. It was composed of a black cross on a white back as they say in heraldry "of sand on a field of silver". Here it is :

user posted image

If the Kroaz-du remained a symbol of the souvereignty of the Breton State until 1532 (specially in the Breton navy) et was replaced most of the time by the flag of the Dukes of Brittany. He is still present on some cities flag like Pornic for example :

user posted image

The flag of the Dukes of Brittany is said in heraldry "d'hermine-plain" and was used for the first time by the Duke Jean III in 1316. Ermine is for Brittany like lily for France, a symbol of purity. The motto of Brittany is :
"Kentoc'h mervel eget bezan saotret" in breton
"Potius mori quam foedari" in latin
"Plutôt la mort que la souillure" in french
"Better death than stain" in english

A legend says that Anne de Bretagne, the famous duchess, once saw an ermine pursued by dogs. It preferred to be eaten by the dogs than spoil its white fur on a dirty pond...

Here's the flag of the Dukes of Brittany

user posted image

As you can see below the ermine is still often used as a symbol, here's the flag of the city of Vannes :

user posted image








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Que restera-t-il de notre sang mêlé au sel, sans trace dans les mémoires ? Une ultime navigation, trompeuse. Et des souvenirs, illuminés d'embruns. Mais condamnés au silence de la mer... Loïc Finaz.
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